The Trump administration’s aggressive use of economic sanctions reflect “a brand new reality that has never been seen in modern times,” according to Liz Rosenberg, a former senior adviser at the Treasury Department.
“President Trump has completely conflated economic sanctions and commercial policy,” said Gary Haufbauer, another former Treasury Department official. “I don’t see that the U.S. is having any positive effect on Chinese behavior, or for that matter, Russia. The U.S., through its trade policy, has managed to isolate itself.”
Matthew Lee of the Associated Press quotes both officials in an excellent piece about sanctions that, remarkably, does not mention Cuba.
Excerpts of the story are below:
Call it the diplomacy of coercion.
The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.
Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has used an array of new and existing sanctions against Iran, North Korea and others. His Treasury Department, which oversees economic sanctions, has targeted thousands of entities with asset freezes and business bans. The State Department has been similarly enthusiastic about imposing its own penalties: travel bans on foreign government officials and others for human rights abuses and corruption in countries from the Americas to the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
At the same time, the administration is trying to reduce greatly the amount of U.S. foreign assistance, notably cutting money to Latin America and the Palestinians.
The combination of more sticks and fewer carrots has created a disconnection between leveraging the might of America’s economic power and effectively projecting it, according to experts who fear the administration is relying too much on coercion at the expense of cooperation.
It’s rare for a week to go by without the administration announcing new sanctions.
“Once again, the Trump administration is hell bent on slashing programs that lift millions out of poverty, turn the tide against deadly diseases, strengthen our economy, and make America safer,” said Tom Hart, the North America executive director for The ONE Campaign, which supports development assistance. “Not only does this undermine U.S. leadership around the world, it subverts Congress’ power of the purse.”